To call the current offense of the New York Yankees feeble is being nice. It has become downright depressing and at times, boring to watch this team try to score runs that aren’t of the solo home run variety. Going into last night’s game against the Oakland A’s, the Yanks were 5 for 64 with runners in scoring position. They proceeded to drop a 5-2 decision in which the two runs scored were homers by Didi Gregorius and Carlos Beltran. In typical New York fashion, they couldn’t score a run in the bottom of the first inning after Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a double and Starlin Castro walked.
To dwell on such ineptitude would cause further angst among Yankees’ fans. Instead, we will combat the depression with a little nostalgia and humor. Let’s look back to days of yore and spot other Yankees’ players that will never be confused with the nickname Bronx Bombers.
I didn’t realize that this mid-1980’s shortstop received only 93 plate appearances during his two seasons in the Bronx. Perhaps it was his futility at the plate that made it seem so much longer. He was the quintessential good glove, no hit utility infielder that is referenced throughout baseball history. Zuvella had a grand total of ten hits during the 1986 and 1987 seasons with exactly one extra base hit and two RBI’s. During his nine-year Major League career, Zuvella hit two home runs with a lifetime batting average of .222 and on-base percentage of .275.
Two words: Bam-Bam. That was the nickname for the outfielder/third baseman from Curcaco who was once New York’s number one prospect. In 1990, Meulens hit 26 home runs and drove in 96 runs while slugging .510 for Columbus, the Yankees’ Triple A farm club. He received 313 plate appearances with the Yanks in 1991 but managed only six home runs and a .222 batting average. In 1992, Bam-Bam once again ate up Minor League pitching with 26 round-trippers and 100 RBI’s. However, his Minor League power never translated to the Majors as he hit only three home runs over the next two seasons in New York. In an effort to improve his stock, Meulens went to Japan where he hit 77 homers in three seasons. He returned to the States where he only briefly surfaced in a Big League uniform with Montreal in 1997 and Arizona in 1998. He was (and still is) the hitting coach for the San Francisco Giants during their recent run of three World Series Championships. You can also call him “Sir Bam-Bam” as he was knighted a a member of the Order of Orange-Nassau by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.
I hesitate to put the Chicken on here because he was a member of the 1977 and 1978 World Series Champion teams. However, a lifetime .214 batting average in 14 seasons necessitates his inclusion. In eight seasons with the Yankees, Stanley hit only six home runs and batted .222. His 308 plate appearances in 1976 was the highest single season total in his career. His single season best in RBI’s was 20, also in ’76. Perhaps his most memorable hit with the Yanks came on June 20th, 1978 against the hated Boston Red Sox. He belted a grand slam off former teammate Mike Torrez to lead the Bombers to a 10-4 victory over the Sox. It was his only homer of the season and at the time he was batting .344. He ended the year at .219 on the “strength” of his .177 average in July and .125 mark in September and October. However, because of his place on the back-to-back championship teams, Chicken will always be a popular name among Yankee fans.
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